The USA 1980 Olympics boycott was an action to protest against the Soviet invasion of the Afghanistan. Other countries took part to this boycott, for example West Germany or Canada. Cuba will be deprived of US opposition and will only face the other Eastern countries and European countries as France and Great-Britain. Cubans fighters will win trust the podium.
1980 OG were the first to suffer from a large boycott for the boxing tournament and this situation will last until 1992.
During the Cordova tournament, the Cubans win, as usual, all gold and silver medals.
During the confrontation between Cuba and the USA, on February 11th, 1979 in Havana, the Cubans win with 18 points to 6, or 9 wins and 3 defeats. ( - 60 kg) Johnny Bumphus/USA def Adolfo Horta on points. ( - 81 kg) Hermenegildo Baez beats Tony Tucker/USA on points and Teofilo Stevenson def Phil Brown/USA also on points (+ 81 kg).
In May 1979, the 12th Giraldo Cordova Cardin Tournament in Havana, Cubans win all the medals.
In July 1979, during the 8th Pan American Games in San Juan/Puerto Rico, Cuba win 5 gold and 2 bronze medals and the USA 4 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze medals. The USA win 6 direct fights against Cuba, for 3 defeats. This was a real surprise, following the poor US performance in 1978, during the WC. In the quarter-finals, ( - 81 kg), Tony Tucker/USA beats Sixto Soria on points; (- 57 kg) Bernard Taylor/USA def Angel Herrera on points; (- 71 kg), James Shuler/USA def Luis Felipe Martinez on points. In the semi-finals (+ 81 kg), Teofilo Stevenson def Rufus Hadley/USA with a KO.
In February 1980, in Charlotte/USA, the USA lose by 10 to 14 against Cuba, or 5 wins for 7 losses. It was also an excellent result. ( - 57 kg) Angel Horta beats Bernard Taylor/USA on points. Teofilo Stevenson def Jimmy Clark/USA on points ( + 81 kg).
In June 1980, during the 13th Giraldo Cordova Cardin Tournament, Cuba win all the medals except one.
The USSR attacked Afghanistan in 1979. The USA gave a deadline to the USSR to withdraw, from this country, with the threat of a boycott of the Olympic Games in Moscow. The USA is supported by various boxing strong countries, including West Germany and Canada. Great-Britain and France supported the boycott, but allowed their athletes to go to Moscow. Italy and Spain were also represented.
62 countries did not participate in the Olympics, despite being invited (including African and South American countries).
Because of this boycott, the level of the boxing tournament was greatly diminished.
USA Team :
It is of course impossible to imagine the results of the confrontation between USA and Cuba at the 1980 Olympic Games. Take also notice that a boxing American selection died in a plane crash near Warsaw/Poland on May 14th, 1980. This selection came to Poland to compete in a tournament. Coach Thomas "Sarge" Johnson, who was in charge of the 1976 Olympic team, was in this selection. A total of 14 boxers died during this accident.
One of the victims, Lemuel Steeples, was the US 1979 Champion and was the 1979 Pan American Games gold medalist, after defeating, among others, Jose Aguilar, on points 5-0. Steeples had also lost the 1979 World Cup final against the Russian Serik Konakbayev, futur 1980 OG silver medalist. Kelvin Anderson, also a victim, had finished 2nd during the 1979 US Championships, losing against Tony Tucker. Anderson had also lost against Sixto Soria in 1978, on points 3-0, during a confrontation between the USA and Cuba.
According to the list of the other victims, no one was a 1979 US champion, or had taken part in the US selection, which met the USSR during a confrontation in the early 1980, or even participated in confrontation with Cuba. In conclusions, this team was not the best US team.
In May 1980, Richard Sandoval, Johnny Bumphus and Marvis Frazier, son of Joe Frazier , become US National Champions.
It is difficult to determine who would have been part of the Olympic boxing team. We have found a list with Richard Sandoval, Bernard Taylor, Johnny Bumphus, Donald Curry, James Shuler, Leroy Murphy and James Broad, who were either pro world champions or have had interesting careers.
The Olympic Games :
The tournament takes place in Moscow from July 19th to August 3rd, 1980.
( -54 kg) Juan Bautista Hernandez wins the gold medal in the finals, and beats Pinango Bernardo/Venezuela, on points 5-0. Video of the fight : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep0q6Mit8PsBernardo Pinango will become boxing pro World Champion in 1986 in the bantams and in 1988 in the super-bantams.
(- 63 kg) Andres Aldama beats John Mugabi/Uganda, in the finals, on points 4-1. Video of the fight : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVQxB9OuTwkAndres Aldama has already won the silver medal at the 1976 OG and did not win a medal at the 1978 WC. Mugabi had been eliminated in the second round of the 1978 WC. He will become a boxing pro World Champion, in the junior-middleweights in 1989, after losing against Marvin Hagler for the middleweight’s title, in 1986.
( - 71 kg) Armando Martinez wins the gold medal, against Russian Alexander Koshkin, on points 4-1. Martinez will be present at the 1982 WC. Video of the fight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qEXNX4WHog
( - 75 kg) Jose Gomez wins the gold medal and beats Viktor Savchenko/USSR, on points 4-1. Video of the fight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48prvGxSwb8 Jose Gomez won the gold medal at the 1978 WC. Savchenko won bronze at the 1976 OG and the gold medal at the 1978 WC, winning against Luis Felipe Martinez, ( - 71 kg).
( - 48 kg) Hipolito Ramos wins the the silver medal, losing against Shamil Sabirov/USSR, on points 2-3. Ramos will be present at the 1982 WC. Sabirov was eliminated in the first round of the 1978 WC. Video of the fight : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAlPM3t_dp8
(- 57 kg) Adolfo Horta loses the final against the East German Rudy Fink, on points 1-4. Horta won a gold medal at the 1978 WC and will be present at the 1982 WC.
Bronze Medals :
( - 64 kg) José Aguilar wins the bronze medal. Aguilar loses in the semi-finals against Russian Serik Konakbayev, on points 4-1. Konakbayev loses in the finals against Patrizio Oliva/Italy. Patrizio Oliva will be a boxing pro World Champion, in the junior welterweights, in 1986.
(- 81 kg) Ricardo Rojas, wins the bronze medal. He loses in the semi-finals against Grzegorz Skrecz/Poland, on points 2-3. Skrecz lost in the preliminaries of the 1978 WC.
Eliminated without a medal :
( - 51 kg) Jorge Hernandez loses on points for his first fight against Miroshnichenko/USSR. Jorge Hernandez won the gold medal at the 1976 OG and 1974 WC, and won the silver medal at the 1978 WC. Miroshnichenko loses in the finals against the Bulgarian Petar lesov.
Because of the futur Cuban boycott, all the fighter from this island will disappear from the Olympic team.
Teams competition :
Cuba wins the team’s competition, with 6 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze medals, for an incredible total of 10 medals. The USSR is 2nd with 1 gold, 6 silver and 1 bronze medals. GDR comes third. The first Western country is Italy, with 1 gold medal.
Cuba wins 39 fights for 5 losses, a victories ratio of 88%, a record for this team.
Alternative Games :
Shortly before the Moscow Olympics, the United States organized alternative games for boycotting countries. For track and field, we found the results of the Liberty Bell Classic, but nothing about boxing.
The US boxing team meets West Germany in August 1980, with a B team.
After the Olympic Games :
Cuba has not taken part at other major competitions after the Olympic Games. This country was absent from the Golden Cup in Kenya, in September 1980. USA and Germany were present.
Cuba has won many medals during these games, but against a poor opposition.
Moreover, after these Games, Cuba will be absent of the OG during 12 years. His return will take place only in 1992.